This time I am complaining about the Daily Mail’s health section as opposed to my traditional rant about the Femail strip of misogyny and shame that appears down the right hand side of the screen even if you are reading the news headlines.
The Health section should really be called “bungling medics and it could happen to you”. Collated here by someone who presumably is suitably qualified in the field of health journalism (perhaps they once had a verruca removed or their mum is a radiographer) is a collection of stories that are frequently beyond belief.
I feel particularly qualified to say this as a friend of mine was recently in the Daily Mail following a press release about her raising funds for charity by doing a number of ridiculous sporting achievements. The Daily Mail picked up the story and interviewed her, sadly not mentioning the charity fund raising activities and instead focusing on the “massive tumour the size of a hippo could have killed me” aspect and “NHS wrote me off as dead” aspect and the “GP missed the early signs” aspect. My friend was rightly aghast at this Daily Mailified version of the story and was mortified by the story as it was run.
Today they are again heavily into Doctor Bashing (who knew so many journalists didn’t get into medical school?) and using that wonderful phrase “bungling medics”. The stories are awful, the accounts of some of these mistreated patients are areas of serious concern but instead of a well thought out article on why these sorts of things happen (short staffed, over worked, poor infrastructure, locums, bank nurses, communication failings, no formal handover…) we get sensationalist headlines.
They have a hatred of all cosmetic surgery that is NHS delivered, especially breast implants and frequently call out trusts that fund fake tits but not £50000 operations in America for unwell children or pricey wheelchairs that have been deemed not cost effective. I am not a plastic surgeon but it strikes me that we do breast augmentation on the NHS so we can continue to train the trainees how to do cosmetic breast augmentation, which is an important useful operation to a lot of people.
Onto the “it could happen to you” stories. Today a 50 year old lady tells how she was diagnosed with leiomyosarcoma (so fucking rare I have seen 2 people in 20 years) the symptoms of which can be “a lump or swelling, abdominal bloating, swelling or pain, a change in menstruation”. Lucky for me I am not a GP who will this week have worried hypochondriac punters who have overdone the diet coke or have a hernia or a lumpy bit of fat and every woman with a period that is heavier/lighter/earlier/later making their way to their local bungling medic who will ignore these early warning signs.
And so the vicious Daily Mail cycle continues. The only people they seem to like are Professors; I should start spending less time on the computer and more time doing important research. Bungling surgeon sounds marginally more worrying than bungling medic I think.